Sep 15, 2012

You Are Going to Be Offended. Grow Up and Deal With It Without Resorting to Violence

With technology news travels faster and there are many more ways for ideas, events, and whatever else to spread everywhere. It's getting increasingly impossible to remain in isolation any more. Guess what? The world is not made to please us all the time! All the religious fanatics, the ultranationalists, and whomever has a oversensitive disposition should take a deep breath and deal with this fact: they are going to be offended!  

Not all ideas are good or make any contribution except to waste our time and energy, but so it's the deep-entrenched belief that certain revealed knowledge should be unassailable. It is through free exchange, trading, and thinking that we have advanced in the face of the reactionaries who are more comfortable with repetition, ignorance, and mental isolation.

The US ambassador to Libya and others were killed because some idiot in the US, plus idiots in the Middle East showed a video defaming the prophet Mohamed. Same story with the Danish cartoons several years ago. Along the line of the Biblical moral value of punishing someone for the sins of someone else, innocent people are injured, tortured, and killed. Mohamed, Jesus, Apollo, Odin, Buddha, etc, must be happy when the mortals kill each other defending the true prophet's reputation. Otherwise the heavens should have another clear and universally-accessed message of which version is correct and whether the killings should stop.
 A Matter of Confidence
People who have confidence and are mature don't need to use violence to defend their beliefs when offended. We, men, while growing up forming an identity were very sensitive to, say, having our masculinity challenged. Most of us remember getting into fights because someone said something to our face. Most of us adults don't do this anymore, because we are confident, don't need to prove something through violence, and our identity is not invalidated by some idiot's remarks. Right? Yes!

Freedom of expression includes the free circulation of ideas, good and bad, without the fear of punishment. Societies who have experimented with tolerance and free exchange have been more successful, creative, and happier. Ancient Athens gave a lot to western civilization, and not only, while the playwrights made fun of the gods, while the scientists were discovering the world without having to please the secular and religious authorities. 

It's a safer, more rewarding, more practical & beneficial to our lives that we seek to understand the world instead the mind of God. Since the latter has given contradictory messages to different peoples throughout the continents and through millennia, while he is not willing to speak to all of us without intermediaries, in a clear indisputable way, let's just say we can live with offending each other. 

Yes, it would take maturity, confidence, and a rational mind to stop behaving like primitive primates, but we can make a better world for all of us. Unfortunately, keeping humans in a primitive state maintains servility--of body and most importantly of spirit. Who benefits from this? Who benefits when ignorance rules? Who benefits when people live in fear?  I know who is least served by such conditions: the poor, the middle class, the oppressed. 

I understand that once an idea, a practice, or a belief system is raised to the level of identity, amendments are hard to come by. But, we should promote the rational mind instead of the irrational, the prejudicial, and the uneducated. A better world depends on this. 

I'm Offended! Richard Dawkins is Disrespecting Zeus!

We are not advancing our collective civilization the more we stoke the fears and the worst primal instincts of people. We are not advancing if we are forced to respect--under the threat of the death penalty--the attributes of man-made gods who, according to the holly books, are jealous, vindictive, megalomaniac, capricious, dictatorial, genocidal, ethnic cleansers, and insecure when challenged by other gods or humans lacking faith.

Let's just all agree that we're all going to hell--that's what religions say about the other religions--but in the meanwhile we can make it a better world by respecting each other and a person's right to free expression. Ideas don't need rights, people do!


 This is all we've got, and we've been wasting our little spec of time fighting each other about whose illusions are more correct...

Sep 9, 2012

Are We Better Off Today Than Four Years Ago?

Are we better off four years into Obama's presidency? Well, it depends how you look at it. I say, yes, we are! The previous chief and his crew started the fire that began to consume our house. This chief and his crew put out the fire and have began the rebuilding process. Is our house better since 2008? Probably yes. Is it better since we arrived? Probably not. However, the previous regime that created the whole mess now wants the keys back because the present regime hasn't completely fixed the mess!

Oh, and when the current chief asks for tools, programs, jobs, the Republicans in Congress say, NO! Under our system, the president can't raise or spend money unless Congress agrees. Further, we should never elect to high office persons and political parties that do not have a positive view regarding government. If they don't think our government can be a positive force for our commonwealth, they should stay away. No, government is not the answer to all problems, but it is the agent that reduces obstacles to freedom, to enhance access to opportunity, and to push for legal equality.

The numbers

Clinton was right, the Dems have created almost twice as many jobs despite controlling the White House for fewer years! The Repubs have created more deficits and increased the gap between the 1% and the rest. How about the market? Without including the Great Depression [guess who was mainly responsible for it?], had you invested in the market, under a Dem president you'd have gotten an annual return twice as big, 8.9% to 4.7%; including Hoover's term, then it drops to 0.4%! [Here's the link to those numbers]

Obama gets an "D" (barely passes) when it comes to political communication. He cut taxes for 95% of the middle class taxpayers and nobody knows it. The benefits of the health care law are not known to those not immediately affected by it, so many people think it's another big government program costing billions more, when it's not and it actually reduces medical expenses. One third of the stimulus went to tax breaks for working people!

There's been a huge investment in green jobs and the CBO reports that 2.5 millions jobs are a direct effect. Likewise for the automobile industry and the many private business connected to it. The stimulus package was mainly a jobs bill in essence, but Obama hasn't communicated that!

Banks got a bailout--private banks with very highly-paid execs--but that saved the financial system. It wasn't done in a way most of us would have liked, but it was necessary.

Where's G. W. Bush?

In 2008, the US had lost millions of jobs, and was losing hundred of thousands every month until the summer of 2009 when Obama's policies began to take effect. The conservatives started labeling the Great Recession as Obama's recession a week after the November election in 2008!

If the GOP really believes Obama is responsible not for the pace of the recovery but for the roots of the problem why don't they take G.W. Bush and his crew out of mothballs and parade them around today until the election? Did you hear Dubya's name at the GOP convention? I didn't either!

In 2008, the economy was shrinking 9% a year; it was like the entire economy of Canada disappearing! Deregulation and lack of oversight of Wall Street created many of the financial scandals. This is the philosophy and policies of the conservatives at play. Yes, many Democratic leaders also cater to Wall Street and big banks, but there are a few, like Elizabeth Warren, who want to change that... to the benefit of everyone, including the big financial institutions. 

Why? Because capitalism needs referees, needs oversight, needs to be saved from itself. The more successful, stable, happy, safest, healthiest countries are the ones who have strong regulations and a good oversight. The more "pure capitalist" countries are on the opposite side of this spectrum. Check it out.

It's truly amazing that the US conservatives' policies attract so much support. Why Romney and his party are still competitive in this election... They are not saying anything different nor are proposing new policies but the ones that got us into a deep recession and worsened the position of the middle class.  Are we suffering from Alzheimer's as a nation? I hope that enough people will turn out and stop this insanity on November 6th, 2012.


My next post, soon, will be on the electoral calculations. I'm looking into the post-convention bounce and into the numbers from the battleground states. As of now, it looks very promising for the blue team.